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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Discussing Our Differences on Baptism (1)

Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on the ministry of Word and sacrament. On this program, we’ll begin to discuss some of the differences between Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, and Baptist views on the nature and meaning of a sacrament. Should we even use this word? When it comes to baptism, should we think of this rite as a mere sign, or as a means of grace? Is it something that believers do in order to testify to the world that they are now Christians, or is it something that God has ordained in order to unite us to Jesus Christ?


“When we talk about the sacraments, we’re talking about the activity being from God to man for the sake of Christ and not from man to God. When we speak about sacraments in particular, we define a sacrament this way. We say, 1) it’s something that needs to be instituted by Jesus himself, 2) it needs to involve an earthly element of some sort. In the case of baptism, of course, we’re talking about water. In the case of Lord’s Supper, bread and wine, and so forth. And 3) it needs to have an attachment to the promise of forgiveness of sins.”

Steve Parks


“The Sacrament of Baptism”

Q. How does holy baptism signify and seal to you that the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross benefits you?

A. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and Spirit wash away the impurity of my soul, that is, all my sins.

Q. What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?

A. To be washed with Christ’s blood means to receive forgiveness of sins from God, through grace, because of Christ’s blood, poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross. To be washed with his Spirit means to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and sanctified to be members of Christ, so that more and more we become dead to sin and lead a holy and blameless life.

(The Heidelberg Catechism, Q’s 69-70)

More from this Series: The Ministry of Word & Sacrament

  1. The Ministry of Word & Sacrament Listen Now ›
  2. The Foolishness of Cross-Centered Preaching Listen Now ›
  3. What is the Purpose of a Sermon? Listen Now ›
  4. Spreading the Word Listen Now ›
  5. Discussing Our Differences on Baptism (1) Listen Now ›
  6. Discussing Our Differences on Baptism (2) Listen Now ›
  7. Discussing Our Differences on the Lord’s Supper Listen Now ›
  8. Icon of the Gospel Listen Now ›